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Parma newlyweds donate and serve their own reception food to women and children living at The City Mission

Still dressed in a wedding gown and tux, Melanie and Tyler Tapajna spent their first few hours as husband and wife serving women and families in crisis.

CLEVELAND — A Parma couple’s wedding day didn’t include the usual reception, DJ and first dance. Instead Tyler and Melanie Tapajna’s said “I Do,” then headed to The City Mission’s Laura’s Home Women’s Crisis Center to serve women and children experiencing homelessness.

“Why not spread the love,” said bride Melanie Tapajna.  “Seeing everybody happy is making us happy.”

The newlyweds, still dressed in their wedding gown and tux, spent their first few hours as husband and wife in the City Mission’s kitchen dishing out fried chicken, mac and cheese, greens and others items originally intended to be served to guests at their reception.

“We paid for it already so we're like we might as well donate it,” Tapajna shared just before entering Laura’s Home with her groom.

The original formal reception was cancelled due to COVID-19.

“They've could've done a hundred other things you know and yet they're choosing to do this, a real act of giving and compassion on a day that is the most important day of their life,” said Richard Trickel, CEO of The City Mission.

Trickel said this is the first time to his knowledge someone has donated their reception food to the crisis center.

“I just thought ‘Holy cow, what an unselfish, wonderful idea,’” Trickel continued. “I think it communicates to the women that there are people who care for them.”

Not just the women but their kids too.

“It's the children. That is our future and they deserve to enjoy everything that we could possibly give them,” the bride explained.

The Tapajnas, who said they support a charity every year, have had to change their wedding plans multiple times during the global pandemic but say they're happy with the way their wedding day turned out.

“This is actually, probably the best outcome of it all,” said the new Mrs. Tapajna.

The couple postponed their honeymoon trip to next year and will instead spend their time fixing up the new home they just purchased.

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